Posted By Mike
That’s One Way to Create Smoke

My friends and I have bragging rights when it comes to our model railroads. Sometimes we try to outdo each other with our ingenuity. Maybe we tackle a particularly difficult accessory or car, or maybe we use our superior construction skills to lay down more track or add a town or forest. Train enthusiasts know how these things can grow and take over an entire room. Beware if you don’t have a basement or attic and want to start a totally engrossing hobby. If you are like the rest of us, you won’t stop with just a few models. It is an absorbing and lifelong process.

I like to be very precise about the details, even of the people and the buildings. Everything has to be perfect when it comes to show off time. I can spend hours getting ready. My model train friends like to go from house to house on a tour of our railroads once a year. We try to avoid negative comments and comparisons, but there was a time when I was totally aghast. One friend had an old-time locomotive and he wanted it to bellow smoke for great effect. It worked and it took all of us a few minutes to figure out how he did it. It was so clever – he used a smoldering cigarette strategically placed at the last minute. Now that’s one way to create smoke! Frankly, I don’t know another way to do it.

I have to add as an aside that I detest the smell of cigarettes and hated going home that day with smelly clothes. Sure, it was cute enough, but it wasn’t fun trying to eliminate the odor. Everything I wore had to be sprayed and thrown into the wash. That bit of authenticity caused me hours of work doing laundry and reading blogs like this to find out how to clean it. What a pain! However, I did enjoy the bit of realism however. I am tempted to try it myself when the neighbor kids come over.

When it comes to our model trains and railways, it is a no holds barred situation. The competition helps motivate us to get more innovative all the time and find new items to share. We have thought about building a system together as a team, combining our various skills and tastes. This will be something to behold. I will keep you posted as plans develop. Meanwhile we are wrangling over the basic concept and approach. We want it to be a candidate for our favorite train hobbyist magazine. If not, it will surely appear on Facebook and Instagram.